26 October 2010

Victory over the Halloween Curse.

Halloween is great fun at our house.

I grew up viewing it as great fun, and nothing more and nothing less. Anything 'scary' about halloween was always viewed as in good fun - we didn't believe that there was anything actually scary - we all knew that was ridiculous. It was just an excuse for fun. And we all know that I'm for that.

We dressed up, carved pumpkins, trick or treated, and that was that. And at least one year our dear family friend Jonny sat on our roof and dropped a coat hanger ghost down on any trick or treater above the age of 11. Now that was fun.

I don't remember any particular battles over costumes with my mother. She ruled (rules?) with a quiet, meek, iron like no other iron fist. I don't think that, until I was 14, I did anything she didn't perfectly will for me.

And by the time you are 14, you are so immature that you think that avoiding things like dressing up on halloween actually makes you more mature... dumb teenagers.

So, my point is, I don't think I ever, ever said, "Mama- I want to be x for hallween" without her having planted the seed, and by the time I had enough of a rebel in me to attempt to thwart her will, I was 'too old for such frivolity' - how pitifully boring that is.

This is not the case at my house.

My personality is very different from Mama's, and I continually make the mistake of trying to involve the kids in decisions about things like what to put on their Christmas lists, what they're going to wear to church on any given Sunday, and what to be for Halloween.

See, I'd like for them to get to pick.

But then, they might mess it up... =)

We have procrastinated about Halloween costume decision making this year.

Yesterday, while the boys were sound asleep napping, I said, "Okay Bee, come sit down with me - let's figure out what you and the boys are going to be for Halloween."

(She and I both agree that until the wills of the boys are stronger, they should be just used as props, or rather sidekicks, to whatever she is going to be - yes, eventually, Eas will want to be a transformer or something - even when Ada says "But Eason - I need you to be a knight in shining armor and rescue me, the princess, from Collins, the dragon" Where as now, Eason says "Okay, that sounds like a great idea!!! to whatever, and when I say whatever, I mean anything that she suggests. I asked him what he wanted to be the other day, and he said, "I don't know, Ada, what do you want to be?" Do you remember that scene in the the animated jungle book when the vultures cannot decide what to do? If not, go watch it here. This is Eason in a nutshell.)

So Bee and I sat down. She says "Mama - I'm six now. I want to be something scary this year."

A few years ago, she was a bat. She was darling. Some friends sewed her an awesome bat costume (with hot pink accents). I feel like a bat is the perfect line between sweet and scary, right?

The year after that, she and her then 20 month old brother were both pumpkins. Come to think of it, Eason has been a pumpkin every year since birth....

Last year, two of my favorite people on earth RUINED HALLOWEEN by getting married. As if Holy Matrimony is more important than costuming. Seriously?

hee hee.

So, none of the kids dressed up.

But this year, Bee wants to be 'something scary' -

I'm not opposed to scary things for halloween. I rather think it's appropriate and fun, especially as the kids get older.

But, I'll admit two things:

1 - I don't like the idea of my 1 & 3 year olds being scary. They are not scary. They are sweet. And should dress accordingly. And if she's something scary, there is no way to forbid the 3 year old. It ain't happenin'.

2 - There are people who don't like Halloween. Because of all of the wrong-headed-creepiness that goes along with Halloween. When the little girls are fairies, we can call it fall festivaling, but when the little girls are witches, well, then it's too close to devil worship. And children being scary things sends them into not-liking-halloween fits. And fits are no good.

The best theological treatment refuting this view I've seen is here.

Anyway, though I disagree with the view that Halloween should be avoided because it somehow belongs to Satan or is used as Satan worship or what not, I respect that for years in certain churches and cultures in the South, this was the belief. And when you are told something for 40 years, it's really hard to start unbelieving it. And, even if you unbelieve it in your head, it's hard not to cringe - when - say - little people dress up as scary things.

And I see no reason, if we can avoid it for a few more years, not to save folks the cringing.

What were the two options she threw out?

A Vampire.

A Devil.

I object to the vampire because, well, I don't want anyone on the sweet earth thinking that I've allowed my daughter to know about the current teenage vampire obsession. Yes, I've kept all references to Twilight and Twilight-esque things out of her bubble. And I don't want any confusion on the point. She's too young for anything in that realm, and it's stupid to boot.
She knows about vampires from references in literature (like real, old-timey literature) and from the Count on Sesame Street. So, I kaboshed the vampire idea.

I don't object to dressing as the devil. I did it when I was 7 or 8, and I think she'd be darling, funny, and what better way to mock Satan than to dress up pretty little people in red horns and leotards. Plus, I like the irony of kids being dressed up as 'little devils ' - you know, since that's what they are.

But, I don't like the idea of Eas and Collins as devils, and they really, really want to match their sister.

And I think some people I really like and admire would cringe because of the aforementioned prejudices against scary costumes on children.

So, I kaboshed the devil, but I had a harder time with this one.

I'm still tired.

But I won. I had victory. I mean, I can always win by saying "No. I said no, you will obey, and that is final." But I feel like that's like walking the guy who with the highest batting average. It's necessary sometimes to the victory, but it should be avoided if possible as a bit of a cowardly move. It's so much better to pitch to them and have them strike out.

(Is the 'out' in strike out functioning as a preposition? I don't think so - I think it's either part of the verb - you cannot say, 'I struck' - you have to say, "I struck out." Or maybe it's an adverb, but of course prepositions are usually part of adverbial phrases - aaahhhh.)

I talked her out of it. Like she doesn't want to be a devil anymore. When she's 8, if she still wants to be one, she can be.

One small victory for me; one giant victory for mothers everywhere.


  1. I think Ada was perfectly happy being a "wedding guest" last year for Halloween :)

  2. I think about Ada and the bat every year.